Senate Passes Business Fraud Bill
Jul. 15, 2002
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WASHINGTON (AP) _ With nary a dissent, the Senate approved on Monday the most sweeping changes in corporate accountability since the Depression, creating stiff penalties and jail terms for company fraud and tightening oversight of the accounting industry.
The vote was 97-0 for the bipartisan bill, lifted by a rising tide of unease over a string of corporate accounting scandals that have shattered Americans' confidence in business and the markets and threatened the fragile economic recovery.
``It is high time we call corporate executives on the carpet and hold them responsible,'' Sen. Max Cleland, D-Ga., declared on the Senate floor before the vote.
Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, denounced ``the crooks running these corporations.''
As the Senate neared passage of the legislation after nearly a week of debate and votes on amendments, President Bush told business leaders, ``We intend to hold people accountable.''